A Second Marriage Success

Today is my 30th anniversary to my second husband, Rich! Woo-hoo is right! Most people who know Rich would describe him as humble, quiet, a noble man of character, a homebuilder and developer who is greatly respected. But I see him and marvel at our journey and what he and I have learned in the process of joining our two families. He brought two children into the marriage, and I brought two. Today we have nine grandkids. He’s Bear Paw, and I’m (as you probably know) Grammy Pammy.

I’d like to summarize what I most want single moms to know about dating again and second marriages - facts no one ever told me. So buckle up. Here’s the truth about dating, uniting two families together and the key to making it work.

DATING: I know it can be intriguing when a single mother begins the dating process. After all, it feels good to be validated again. But the truth is your kids are under your roof for such a short time. Don’t waste it going out with a man you know you would never marry. Dating second time around is totally different when you have children in the picture. Much more is at stake. So consider these “green” light thoughts: Does this man love Jesus above all else? Has he made peace with his past? Does he desire to be a godly example for my children? Does he respect me and aspire for our marriage to be a testimony of God’s design for family life? Just be careful. Mindful. It’s a shocking fact: 67% of second marriages don’t make it. That’s two out of three, and there’s a reason for that. So do your homework, and don’t be in a hurry.

JOINT FAMILY LIFE:  Notice I didn’t say “blended” family. If you blend something, you put it in a mixer and it comes out as one smoothie. Linking two families together isn’t like that. Rather, it's a complex maze of realities. You have “his and her” children under the same roof.  While you might love your stepchildren (as I did!), there’s likely embedded in many of the children’s hearts unresolved issues that will surface later in life. Living within what Dr. Talley calls “a compounded family” has its challenges. And then you add the component of stepparenting, along with navigating relationships with biological parents on both sides, and it’s anything but perfectly “smooth.”  

THE GOLDEN KEY: I’m celebrating a 30 year anniversary for a reason. Looking back I see an ingredient that transformed those initial shaky adjustments into 3 decades of a fruitful union. And what’s that?  Jesus stood as the third partner. Like a cord with three stands, when times got tough, Christ intertwined our souls in a way that gave us eyes to view our marriage vows from His perspective. Time and time again Rich and I fell on our knees and sought His wisdom concerning our relationship, the children’s well-being, and more. And at every juncture, we found insight in navigating “the mix.” 

So today is a big day in our household! This day serves as a beautiful testament of how two former single adults with past hurts and baggage can one day reflect on those wedding pictures and marvel at God’s faithfulness along the way.  So Happy Anniversary, Rich. I love you! Thank you for the memories of this amazing 30-year journey.  


About Pam Kanaly   Read more by this author...

Aloha! I’m Pam Kanaly, President and co-founder of Arise Ministries. But actually, I think Arise found me wanting to bless single moms years ago. Ministry was never on my mind as a kid. All I wanted to be was a hula dancer. So Mother enrolled me in the tiny tots’ class. Guess God knew I'd have two grandbabies born in Hawaii. I love the great outdoors. You might even find me spending time with my husband grizzly bear watching or camping. In fact, it was on a turkey hunt that God gave me the name Arise Ministries in 2002. I suppose it’s a good thing that I majored in Grammar in college since I love to write words of encouragement to single moms.

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